BNP Paribas: everything you wanted to know about working and getting a job there
BNP Paribas is one of the top 10 banks in the world according to the size and quality of assets and the number of employees. As per September 2020 BNP Paribas has offices in 71 countries with about 199,000 employees. It ranks the first in France, the 2nd in Europe and the 31st in the world in the 2020 List of the Most Sustainable Corporations according to the Corporate Knights report for the World Economic Forum in Davos.
BNP Paribas Group has a diversified presence in most countries of its presence and operates in two main areas:
- corporate and investment banking;
- retail business (consumer finance) and investment solutions.
The group has a strong market position in all areas and has great prospects for future development. The 2020 crisis due to the COVID-19 situation has influenced a lot the BNP Paribas Group and the banking business as a whole. But thanks to a stable and sound financial position of the group it suffered minor loss. Unlike many other banks in Europe and the rest of the world BNP Paribas did not cut staff in any of the countries of its operation and the number of employees remains close to 198 thousand as per September 2020. We consider the BNP Paribas Group as a very stable and lucrative employer in the current situation.
Working in the BNP Paribas Group
As in all large banks around the world, the working conditions for low-level employees in large banks are quite difficult. They include long working hours (9-10 every day), low starting salaries, material and moral responsibility for the company’s result, tiresome working conditions (a lot of communication with clients, difficult job processes and not always the correct attitude from managers) and difficult conditions for career growth and development. All these features are also fully present in BNP Paribas bank. BNP Paribas positions itself as a bank with affordable credit solutions for the public. This leads to the fact that many clients go to the bank for loans, comparing the bank’s offers with others. There are a lot of reviews on the Internet that BNP Paribas loan offers are worse than those of other banks. Accordingly, some say that it is difficult to work in sales at BNP Paribas.
At the same time, BNP Paribas offers its employees a package of benefits that includes:
- Extended medical insurance;
- Health savings account;
- Increased pension savings;
- Credit holidays;
- Discounts on bank products.
According to the staff, BNP Paribas has a good and friendly team, a high-quality training program. Employees have the possibility of rotation between projects (for some departments). They like the corporate parties and holidays and, subject to growth and continuous work, good conditions for earning money. 75% of employees recommend a job at this bank. This is a good indicator.
Pre-employment process at BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas uses a standard employee selection process that includes the following steps:
- selection of resume and cover letter;
- initial telephone interview;
- BNP Paribas online aptitude tests;
- assessment center;
- face-to-face interview.
The whole pre-employment process takes on average 4-5 weeks, but when recruiting for some mass positions like the client room jobs, support and sales sometimes you can get a job literally within a couple of days.
For some positions, pre-employment process also includes a trial period of up to 3 months, and for cashiers and a number of management positions, a security check and a polygraph test. A security check includes checking of you and your close relatives (husband, wife, parents, brothers, sisters) for alcohol, drug or gambling addiction, as well as checking reviews from previous jobs and credit ratings. If you have problems with any of these points, you will most likely never get a job at BNP Paribas. A polygraph test is considered a certain formality, and if you show good results in aptitude testing, interviews and other tests, then, most likely, even a controversial polygraph test result will not mean a failure for you.
How to apply for a BNP Paribas job
The recruiting process at BNP Paribas is standard for a Western company. First you need to submit an online application, resume and cover letter. BNP Paribas vacancies can be found both on all major job search engines and on the company’s official website in the Careers section. The link is https://group.bnpparibas/en/careers
At this stage, you are required to send a professionally written resume and cover letter. Read about them our special articles:
The first step in the pre-employment selection of applicants is the analysis of their resumes and cover letters. And already at this stage, up to 70% of candidates are eliminated.
Phone/Skype interview at BNP Paribas
Job interviews at BNP Paribas, depending on the position, take place in several stages. The first one is by phone or skype and its objective is to get to know the applicant and determine how he or she meets the primary requirements of the company.
If your profile has been selected as suitable, you will get a call or email contacted by a representative of the bank’s HR department for a short telephone interview. It usually takes 10-15 minutes to check the details of your resume and your availability for further employment. In addition, this is the first stage of live communication with you, and by it the HR employee will make the first impression about you.
Many job seekers make the mistake of the first interview, believing that it is not yet a qualifying stage, and it is not so important what they say. But this is a wrong approach.
We recommend that you prepare answers to basic questions about your professional experience, education, plans for the future, and who you want to become within the BNP Paribas Group. During the interview, we recommend that you definitely say that you really want to work in this company and grow professionally. At the end of the interview, do not forget to thank your interviewer for their time and attention.
BNP Paribas psychometric aptitude tests
If you have proven yourself to be a worthy candidate in a telephone interview, then an employee of the company’s HR will send you a link to your online aptitude tests. These are psychometric tests to assess your intellectual abilities and determine if your personality traits meet the company’s requirements. The set and number of BNP Paribas aptitude tests may vary depending on the position you are applying for. Usually these are intelligence tests (numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and abstract reasoning tests) and a situational judgement test. Personality and motivation questionnaires are a common tool as well especially for candidates for managerial positions. BNP Paribas uses aptitude tests from CEB SHL. This is the leading test company that provides HR solutions for most large businesses all over the world.
Read more about CEB SHL aptitude tests with examples in our special article: SHL psychometric tests
BNP Paribas numerical reasoning tests
BNP Paribas uses numerical reasoning tests to assess your ability to understand and quickly analyze complex numerical information in charts, graphs and diagrams. Depending on the level of the position you are applying for, you will have a numerical reasoning test of 12 or 37 questions. There is no time limit for each question, but the total time for the entire test is 15 or 30 minutes. You may switch between questions, skip and return to previously completed test questions within the total time limit. Below you will find an example of a numerical reasoning test question for a customer service area employee.
See the end of the article for the correct answer and explanation of this numerical reasoning test. We recommend that you solve the test by yourself first so that you can assess your numeric ability skills. On real testing you will have about 60 seconds to find the answer of such a numerical aptitude test. Read more about numeric reasoning tests of all types in our article Numerical Reasoning Tests: what they are, examples, solutions and tips to pass them
BNP Paribas verbal reasoning tests
Verbal reasoning tests help assess your reading comprehension skills and the ability to comprehend written information. The test consists of a short text passage, followed by a statement and three answer options: true, false, cannot tell. You must answer the maximum number of questions in the given time. BNP Paribas verbal reasoning test usually has 49 questions for 20 minutes. Verbal reasoning tests “true-false- cannot tell” are considered easy, but if you have never seen and practiced such aptitude tests, then you may face difficulties. These tests are not as simple as they seem at first glance. Below you can find an example of the SHL verbal reasoning test for the BNP Paribas bank.
On a real test, you will have only 25-30 seconds to answer such a verbal reasoning test. Time yourself, will 30 seconds be enough for you to find the right answer?
You can read more about verbal reasoning tests by SHL and other developers in our article Verbal reasoning tests: what are they and how to pass them
BNP Paribas abstract reasoning tests
Abstract reasoning tests help determine the candidate’s ability to understand information presented as a series of abstract pictures and graphs. You will be asked to define the rules displayed in each picture and the logic for how each picture relates to each other. BNP Paribas abstract reasoning test usually includes 12 questions for 12 minutes. You can find an example of such a test below.
This is an example of a medium difficulty test. In real testing, you may also get a more complex abstract reasoning test question. It takes 1 minute to solve this test. For more examples and a description of abstract reasoning tests, see our separate article Abstract reasoning tests: all you want to know about them
BNP Paribas situational judgement tests
The situational judgement test is designed to determine standard patterns of the applicant’s behavior in a given situation. To cope with the proposed situation in the situational judgement test, you will have to select one of the offered scenarios. The situation judgement test at BNP Paribas usually consists of 12 questions and is not limited in time. Below you can see an example of an SHL situational judgement test for BNP Paribas bank.
You will find the correct answer and explanation of this situational judgement test at the end of the article. Try to think about each answer first and find the correct answer yourself. Take your time, many of the answers may have different consequences in a given context.
You will find about 300 situational judgement tests at Aptitude-Tests-Practice.com. If you want to get a job in sales, marketing, customer support or management we recommend you taking all of the SJ test on our website. Read more about situational judgement tests in our articles:
Personality and motivational questionnaire
In addition to the situational test, most candidates for the BNP Paribas vacancies must pass a 200-question personality questionnaire. This is a rather tedious test and can take up to 1 hour.
In the instructions for the personality and motivational questionnaire, they often write that you do not need to prepare for it, but, on the contrary, you need to give the first answer that comes to mind. We believe this approach is fundamentally wrong. After all, it is on the basis of your results, which you show in aptitude tests and questionnaires, that a decision will be made whether the proposed work is worthy or not.
We recommend reading our articles on how to take a personality questionnaire and a motivational questionnaire Personality questionnaires: what is it and what is their difficulty
How do I prepare for BNP Paribas aptitude tests?
It is important to be prepared for the online aptitude tests, because your success will determine whether you can proceed to the interview stage. Here are some helpful hints: remember, the experience you need is growing with practice, so take the time to practice the skills to be tested. 4-5 days of practice at Aptitude-Tests-Practice.com will give you an understanding of the main types of aptitude tests, ways to approach them and the habit of not worrying during testing when time is running out.
BNP Paribas Assessment Center (Assessment superday)
In case you are a candidate for an administrative, sales, marketing or management position, your skills will be assessed at the group selection stage. This stage at BNP Paribas is called the Assessment Superday. You will work with a group of other candidates on the solution of a business case study and make a presentation. There may also be group discussions with senior management or other types of case studies.
On Super Day, you will meet other job candidates and some senior executives. The assessors will track your ability to collaborate with others. Be prepared to show your leadership skills, but do not dominate. Don’t be afraid to speak up in group sessions and offer suggestions. The employer will try to understand if you are able to listen to others and be part of the team. A willingness to show decent teamwork and strong communication skills will be critical in getting the job offer you are looking for.
Final face-to-face interview
Subject to successful completion of the previous stages of pre-employment selection, you will be invited for a face-to-face job interview. This is a long and intense interview that takes 50-60 minutes. The questions that you will have assess your attitude to the company’s values: responsiveness, dedication, creativity, ambition. Questions about work experience, education and your communication skills are likely.
When preparing for your job interview at BNP Paribas, it is important to keep in mind the emphasis on corporate culture at this bank. Employers are interested in those who best represent the values of the company. Before the interview, we recommend that you study the BNP Paribas website, where you can familiarize yourself with the bank’s corporate culture and get useful information.
Here is a short list of sample questions that you may hear in an interview at BNP Paribas:
- What aspect of finance are you most familiar with?
- Are you interested in expanding your financial knowledge? If so, what interests you the most?
- What kind of education do you have and how will it help you in your career at BNP Paribas?
- What do you consider good customer service? How will you take care of a client?
- How do you see your career development after 5 and 10 years of work?
- Tell us about your biggest achievement to date.
- Tell us what you will say to an unhappy customer who has been waiting in line for a long time and complains about the bank’s work. What will you tell him first?
When preparing for the job interview, focus on the values of the company, try to reflect them in your answers. Try to dress and look formal. Your confidence and knowledge of the company’s values will testify to your willingness to work for the BNP Paribas Group. When answering interview questions, we recommend that you try to give examples from your real work or study experience. This is highly appreciated by any recruiter.
Before your interview, we recommend reading our articles to help you show your best side:
BNP Paribas is an employer that can give its employees a good opportunity of growth and satisfaction. If you want to work at BNP Paribas, we recommend that you carefully prepare for all stages of the pre-employment selection: writing a resume and a cover letter, psychometric aptitude tests, assessment center and job interviews. After 5-6 days of preparation, you will be able to prove yourself the strongest candidate and get the job. Good luck!
Aptitude test answers:
Numerical reasoning test
Verbal reasoning test
Abstract reasoning test
Situational judgement test